Home / Opinions / LocalRSS Feed
Actions large and small make our world a better place
February 14th, 2003
When time goes by and each of us looks back and asks what we did to make our world, large and small, a little better, what will each of us be able to say?
This question, which I often use as a guide, has been more than challenging to answer over the past two weeks.
Our hopes and dreams were resting on the shoulders of Israeli astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon zl. We watched and grabbed every opportunity to hear news from his journey aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Then the worst news arrived. Col. Ramon died in an accident that still sends chills down our spines. May his family and all of us be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
The past two weeks have also seen increasing cries for war with Iraq. Our families in Israel are preparing gas masks, and special plastic cribs and animal enclosures in case of a chemical or biological attack.
Yet in the middle of all this, I received a call from Tanya Arbit, program coordinator for the Midwest region of the LOREO project of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. She told me that members of the Milwaukee Association of Russian-Speaking Jews wanted to drop off some blankets for our Israeli Partnership 2000 region as part of the Milwaukee Jewish Federations Ben-Gurion Society initiative.
When Russian association president David Dreyzin brought the blankets in, he shared touching thoughts with me.
After he spoke, I thought to myself: Blankets for our cold families in Israel. They wont protect them from Iraq, and they wont create new jobs. They wont bring Col. Ramon back and they wont change the world at least not the larger world. But they will keep a Jew warm. Simple.
Last week, as my nine-year-old daughter sat on my lap one night, I wondered what her world would look like. I drew comfort from the fact that I had started my week with several other members of our community at a conference in L.A. sponsored by the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education. Being surrounded by hundreds of Jews whose heart and soul is immersed in Jewish education was a pleasure.
We in Milwaukee should be proud. We excel in the number of Jewish children enrolled in Jewish day schools. We excel in educational opportunities in our synagogues, JCC programs, community events and more. And we, in Milwaukee, excel in doing what needs to be done to make our Jewish community a home.
Keep making this happen for my daughter, and yours, and all the Jews of Milwaukee and beyond. Our needs are tremendous, but we can all make a difference. Keep contributing time and money to our local agencies. Keep making a difference.
Ilan Ramon and blankets for our families in Israel. Actions large and small, all parts of a Jewish life of which we can be proud.
Marty (Moshe) Katz is a community activist and educator. He is president of the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations; co-chair with his wife, Debra, of the Ben-Gurion Society of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation; campaign chair for State of Israel Bonds in Wisconsin; and a teacher at the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem co-sponsored by the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center and the Coalition for Jewish Learning, MJFs education program.